Mother loved… her life in California, sans children. Mother loved…attending college, sans family. Mother loved…no-one holding her accountable. She also loved her perceived independence sans children and family
When encumbered with responsibilities, Mother was not very merry. She craved a pretend life where she could choose to spend her day however she wished. Now make no mistake, Mother was able to complete a two year degree at a community college. This was an accomplishment she shared with any listener, willing or not. I believe the term ad nauseam was invented after Mother told the long, drawn-out story of this achievement again…and again…and again.
My sister Abby and I (you know, Mother’s children) were thorns in her side and held her back from her “true dreams.” We truly didn’t ask much of her because we had quickly learned to lower our expectations. There would be no chewing gum, no Rice Krispie Treats, no fresh baked cookies, no unconditional love because she did not have any of these things to give.
Once you realize what you are dealing with, you accept the situation. In no way did we ever think it was OK.
What our mother lacked in merriment, our dad more than made up for. With a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face, we knew that we were loved, accepted and would always hold a special place in his heart.
Lesson learned: Children should not be considered a burden. If you are selfish, self-absorbed, think the world revolves around you, or that it should revolve around you, do not have children. If you love being the center of your own universe (our mother Mary) and have mental problems (our mother Mary) and have substance abuse problems (our mother Mary) you are not parent material.